An integrated vector-scalar design on an in-order ARM core
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European Commission's projectROMOL - Riding on Moore's Law (EC-FP7-321253)
In the low-end mobile processor market, power, energy, and area budgets are significantly lower than in the server/desktop/laptop/high-end mobile markets. It has been shown that vector processors are a highly energy-efficient way to increase performance; however, adding support for them incurs area and power overheads that would not be acceptable for low-end mobile processors. In this work, we propose an integrated vector-scalar design for the ARM architecture that mostly reuses scalar hardware to support the execution of vector instructions. The key element of the design is our proposed block-based model of execution that groups vector computational instructions together to execute them in a coordinated manner. We implemented a classic vector unit and compare its results against our integrated design. Our integrated design improves the performance (more than 6×) and energy consumption (up to 5×) of a scalar in-order core with negligible area overhead (only 4.7% when using a vector register with 32 elements). In contrast, the area overhead of the classic vector unit can be significant (around 44%) if a dedicated vector floating-point unit is incorporated. Our block-based vector execution outperforms the classic vector unit for all kernels with floating-point data and also consumes less energy. We also complement the integrated design with three energy/performance-efficient techniques that further reduce power and increase performance. The first proposal covers the design and implementation of chaining logic that is optimized to work with the cache hierarchy through vector memory instructions, the second proposal reduces the number of reads/writes from/to the vector register file, and the third idea optimizes complex memory access patterns with the memory shape instruction and unified indexed vector load.
CitationStanic, M., Palomar, Ó., Hayes, T., Ratkovic, I., Cristal, A., Unsal, O., Valero, M. An integrated vector-scalar design on an in-order ARM core. "ACM transactions on architecture and code optimization", Juliol 2017, vol. 14, núm. 2, p. 17:1-17:26.
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